The Birth of Christianity
In the first century in the region of Palestine a man called Jesus of Nazareth lived and died. There is no real dispute of this historical fact. As a Jewish “rabbi” or teacher, he gathered and trained a small band of followers. After his death at the hands of the Jewish leaders of his day, Jesus’ followers testified that he had been resurrected from the dead. From the testimony of these men who’d known him—walked and talked with him, listened to and questioned him, seen him and shared life with him—grew all of what is today called Christianity.
Historical Truth Is the Key
The crucial question is the historical one. Did Jesus rise from the dead? The documents of the New Testament provide a unified voice in their testimony that this Jesus made some mind-boggling claims. He claimed to have a unique relationship with God, the relationship of a son to a father. He claimed to have authority to forgive men their offenses against God. He claimed to be able give to those who would trust him a life that physical death could not destroy. He claimed he would someday act as judge of mankind. And, when challenged for a “sign” to substantiate such claims, he predicted his suffering and death at the hands of the leaders of his people, his burial, and his resurrection from the dead.
Church: 1st Century Style
The band of followers he’d gathered, after his death, spent the rest of their lives telling everyone they could that Jesus had risen from the dead. Virtually all of them died because of this testimony and it was their dying breath. If their testimony was true, the implications are just as important as they were to those who first heard this news. If true, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead changes everything.
Our lives as disciples of Jesus is built on the foundation of his identity which is known through his resurrection from the dead. Christianity is a historical religion. Its truth is grounded in this history. If the resurrection of Jesus can be shown to have taken place, then many other questions are naturally solved. The existence of God is proved and the character of God is revealed. Man’s identity, his duty and his destiny, the reality of life after death, the authority of God’s revelation through the Bible…all this and more stands on the foundation of Jesus’ resurrection.
The Simple Invitation
So the invitation Jesus gave to become his follower when he walked on earth is still open to us. Convinced that Jesus is who he claimed to be, the folks of the LCC family are in the process of discovering how we live together as Jesus’ followers. We worship a real God, we are messy people with real life issues, and we have changed lives because of the work of Christ in our lives!
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